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The importance of a second opinion

When the doctor recommends surgery or other major medical procedures, it can be very unsettling. This is why many seek a second opinion to confirm the course of action. A second opinion is simply seeking advice from another doctor concerning treatment. There are so many different ways to treat medical conditions today that a second opinion often provides additional options for treatment. A study conducted by Mayo Clinic found that 88 percent of patients seeking a second opinion received a new or refined diagnosis. Even if the second doctor agrees with the original diagnosis, the second opinion can provide a peace of mind that the medical decision is the best option.

If you are suffering from a condition that needs immediate attention like acute appendicitis or an aneurysm, waiting for a second opinion is not an option. But in many situations, there is time to seek a second opinion. Here are some tips about second opinions from Medline Plus.

Being an informed patient
When your doctor recommends a life-altering or life-threatening procedure that is not an emergency, getting a second opinion can be a wise decision. Ask both doctors to outline your options as well as describe the possible risks and recovery expectations. Instead of being a passive patient who is having treatment, be part of the team by seeking out as much information as possible.

Getting the second opinion
Many doctors welcome a request for a second opinion because it confirms their diagnosis. Begin by asking your doctor if he can recommend another doctor for a second opinion. If you have Medicare, make sure the second doctor also accepts Medicare. Medicare Part B will help pay for a second opinion before any medically necessary surgery. It will also pay for any additional tests the second doctor needs to make a treatment decision.

Be sure to talk to your provider about getting a second opinion. Some insurance plans require a referral from the first doctor for the second opinion. Some other plans will only cover second opinions from doctors within your plan providers network.

Being prepared
Before seeing the doctor for a second opinion, be sure to have your records forwarded to the second doctor to avoid having to repeat diagnostic tests. Share your medical history with the doctor so that he is aware of other medical issues like diabetes or high blood pressure that may affect treatment. Write down a list of questions to ask and if possible, take along a friend or family member to encourage conversation. Remember that it is your right to ask questions so that you understand treatment options, risks, recovery challenges and procedure details. It is also wise to ask the doctor how often he has done the procedure to make sure he is prepared. Having medical treatment is an important decision that can only be made when you have accurate and complete information.

The final decision
If the second doctor offers a different course of treatment from the original treatment plan, it may seem overwhelming. Often it is helpful to return to the first doctor with the second opinion and ask for his thoughts. Keep asking questions until you completely understand your options. Remember that the final decision whether and when to have treatment is ultimately your choice.

The next challenges
Once you have made the decision for surgery or other medically necessary treatment, it is a good idea to also plan for your time of recovery following your hospital stay. In many cases, doctors recommend recovering in a short-term care facility where needs can be professionally addressed for a successful return to an active lifestyle. Whitehall of Deerfield, the area’s premier post-hospital rehabilitation center, has consistently received Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and rehabilitation centers, making it one of the best options for recovery in the area. The expert staff is dedicated to providing the highest standards of customer service and clinical care.

In addition to exceptional care, Whitehall of Deerfield will provide you with world-class accommodations and amenities to make your stay comfortable. Attentive concierge service, daily delivery of Starbucks coffee and a newspaper to your room, valet parking for your visitors, Wi-Fi, and a Wellness Spa are just a few of the many services offered during a stay at Whitehall of Deerfield. Meals from a diverse menu can be taken in the privacy of your room or in a sun-drenched solarium dining room. Gourmet coffee, freshly-baked goods and ice cream refreshments are also available to all guests.

The staff at Whitehall at Deerfield strive to address every guest’s needs in luxurious surroundings giving your stay a world-class feel. To learn more about Whitehall of Deerfield, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

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